ePIC Newsflash April 2015

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ePIC 2015 Newsflash

April 2015



ePIC 2015

the 13th conference on ePortfolios, Open Badges and Identity

8-9-10 June 2015

In Partnership with EDEN


Micro-credentials: what can we learn from micro-credits?

ePIC 2015 Update

Keynote speakers
The ePortfolio Trial
Open Passport Workshop
Social Dinner at Little Italy

Badge Europe

First release of the Open Badge Passport
Open Badge Use Cases
Discussion Paper on Open Badges and Quality Management

Europortfolio News

Join the Green Paper conversation


EDEN Annual conference, 10-12 June 2015, Barcelona, Spain
AAEEBL, 27-30 July 2015, Boston, USA
2015 Eportfolio Forum, 30-September – 1 October 2015, Joondalup, Australia


Micro-credentials: what can we learn from micro-credits?




“The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.”
― Ernest Hemingway

Are micro-credentials a disruptive innovation, just as micro-credits (micro-loans) were thought to be a few years ago? To answer this question we should first find out what can be qualified as a disruptive innovation? According to Wikipedia:

A disruptive innovation is an innovation that helps create a new market and value network, and eventually disrupts an existing market and value network (over a few years or decades), displacing an earlier technology.

Open Badges are creating a new market, the market of Open Credentials (micro-credentials are just one type of Open Credentials) and establishing a new currency, or more precisely reinvigorating one of the oldest currencies ever: trust.

Trust has many properties. First, it's free and when offered, it enriches both the giver and the recipient. And when the recipients of trust get richer (with trust), their increased wealth can trickle back to those who initially offered their trust. While it might still need the philosophers' stone (source) to be transmuted into gold, trust can nevertheless be transformed into real cash as one experiences when applying for a loan. Con artists and banks* also know how to make cash out of trust!

For the poorest, things are different. One of the few assets they cannot be totally deprived of is trust. Thanks to the Nobel Prize winning Grameen Bank (source) founded by Muhammad Yunus, they now have the power to convert trust into micro-loans.

Grameen Bank is owned by the borrowers and it is based on trust. It does not require any collateral from its borrowers. Since the bank does not wish to take any borrower to the court of law in case of non-repayment, it does not require the borrowers to sign any legal instrument.

What lessons could the Open Badge practitioners learn from the Grameen Bank and the many micro-credit organisations that have been spawned since its creation? Can we draw a parallel between micro-credits and micro-credentials in terms of empowerment and potential social transformation? Could Open Badges create the conditions for the emergence of a new economy?

To provide a response to these questions, we should first take a look at what really happened with micro-credits. Were they really so successful? In a 2011 article, Is microfinance a neoliberal fairytale? The Guardian (source) reported on a paper written by the Cambridge economist Ha-Joon Chang and Milford Bateman – one of microfinance's most vociferous critics according to The Guardian:

Microfinance is based on an attractive but false premise that poor people can make themselves richer providing they have access to credit. But wealth creation, outside of fairytales, is very rarely the result of individual effort. Rather it is a collective endeavour – requiring skills and knowledge – in institutions such as companies, co-operatives. Microfinance has erroneously put the individual centre stage, reflecting a neoliberal world view.

For Milford Bateman, "[microfinance] disempowers the poor by deliberately restricting their ability to use their ‘collective capabilities’ to effect real pro-poor change" (source).

Another research paper from MIT's Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (source) did find that

While microcredit "succeeds" in affecting household expenditure and creating and expanding businesses, it appears to have no discernible effect on education, health, or womens' empowerment.

While the Stanford Social Innovation Review (source) reports:

China, Vietnam, and South Korea have significantly reduced poverty in recent years with little microfinance activity. On the other hand, Bangladesh, Bolivia, and Indonesia haven’t been as successful at reducing poverty despite the influx of microcredit.

So, while it is a fact that trust is convertible into cash, it might not be enough to have the transformative effect one could have initially expected. Are the beneficiaries of micro-credentials really empowered? Are they in a position, and do they have the power to act? Could our growing belief in micro-credentials become an impediment to proper transformative actions that might require collective action? In focusing our attention on micro-credentials, are we not committing the same kind of methodological error as those focusing on 'security' when it is 'trust' that is at stake**?

Of course, comparaison n'est pas raison (comparison is not reason), but if there is one thing we should learn from micro-credits it is that there is a wide gap between the tales we like to hear and the more prosaic reality. Only proper research can help us debunk the emerging myths of micro-credentials.

We look forward to pursuing this reflection further in Barcelona with the help of Beverley Oliver, Atish Gonsalvez, Ismael Peña-López and the participants at ePIC 2015!

Serge Ravet ADPIOS
Open Passport, Badge Europe!, Europortfolio​

* Banks have the power to create money out of nothing: 97% of all the money in the economy is in bank deposits. Only 3% is cash, i.e. printed by central banks source

​** OpenBadges: The Deleterious Effects of Mistaking Security for Trust source


ePIC 2015 Update

disruptive technologies for transformative learning


Keynote Speakers



Badge Alliance Logo

Badge Europe!

International Journal of ePortfolio




Professor Beverley Oliver, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Deakin University, Australia

As we approach the 13th conference on ePortfolios, Open Badges and Identity it is timely to consider what the future might hold for the fruition of disruptive technologies for transformative learning that empowers graduates for success in life as engaged citizens. Some would say that we have inherited:

  • a massified educational system that use
  • complex technological systems to replicate
  • a largely transmissive model of knowledge transfer for
  • the production of graduates for further education and professional careers.

We are at a critical junction that will enable us to educate and engage:

  • creating personalised educational systems that use
  • streamlined and elegant learning systems to
  • credential achievement of key capabilities, including discipline knowledge to
  • empower graduates to create and find meaningful work (paid and unpaid) for a better world.

About Professor Beverley Oliver

This presentation will describe what this future vision entails, and potential paths to its realization through new models and systems. We have learning management systems, portfolios, open badges, and a trend towards unbundling – how can we ensure the rebundling of all these elements cohere around empowering learners?​ The focus for change must include a reimagination of assessment (beyond testing knowledge to authentic and authenticated experiences) and a reimagination of credentials (beyond marks, grades and credits to meaningful micro and macro credentials for all stakeholders).

Beverley Oliver is ALTC National Teaching Fellow 2011 and Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education) at Deakin University, Australia. Through her National Teaching Fellowship (Assuring Graduate Capabilities), she is engaging curriculum leaders of undergraduate courses from any discipline to work with their colleagues, industry partners, students and graduates to: define course-wide levels of achievement in key capabilities, articulated through standards rubrics; embed the rubrics into student portfolios and course review portfolios and share the challenges and opportunities of such approaches through scholarly publications.

Ismael Peña-López Open University of Catalonia, Spain

Lecturer at the Open University of Catalonia, School of Law and Political Science, and also researcher at its Internet Interdisciplinary Institute and at its eLearn Center. PhD in the Information and Knowledge Society, BSc in Economics, MSc in Ecoaudit and Corporate Planning of the Environment and post-degree in Knowledge Management. He works on the impact of Information and Communication Technologies in Development. Specifically, his interests focus on the measurement of the evolution of digital economies and personal digital uptake (e-readiness, the digital divide), and the impact of ICT on development and its main institutions, especially in the field of ICTs and education and ICTs and democracy.

He was founding member and then director of the Development Cooperation Programme at UOC, where he mainly worked in the fields of e-learning for development and online volunteering. He is the editor of ICTlogy (ISSN 1886-5208). In 2014 Ismael was director of the Open Innovation project at Fundació Jaume Bofill.

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)

MSF was established in 1971 by a small group of French doctors who had worked together during the Nigerian Civil War. Upon their return, they were determined to find a way to respond rapidly and effectively to public health emergencies, with complete independence from political, economic and religious influences. Today, MSF is one of the world's leading independent international medical relief organizations, working in close to 70 countries worldwide and with operational centres and national offices in 19 countries.

At ePIC 2015, MSF and DisasterReady.org will encourage humanitarian organizations to consider the pivotal role that educational technologies can play in human capital development for the sector. These technologies include Personal Learning Environments, ePortfolios and competency credentials using Open Badges.

Atish Gonsalves, DisasterReady.org

​Atish Gonsalves is the Director of DisasterReady.org and is responsible for the strategy, development and outreach for this effort to support the critical and demanding training needs of the global humanitarian community.

Before joining the Foundation, Atish led the learning technology team at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) where he was responsible for innovation, e-learning content development, and information communication technology training. Atish’s professional experience also includes working with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, Telstra, and GE. Atish has over 10 years of technology innovation and training experience in Asia, Australia, Europe and the Middle East.

Atish holds an MASc in Information Technology from Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) University in Australia.


The ePortfolio Trial


Join us for the ePortfolio trial: during one hour and a half, the court will listen to arguments to decide whether the ePortfolio is, guilty or not guilty, as charged. We are looking for volunteers as lawyers and witnesses!


Open Passport Workshop

The Open Passport is an open source, open data and open trust project which was released earlier this month (c.f. below). It is vital to its success that the community as a whole, not just a small groups of specialists, contributes to its design. While we will of course need technical experts when the time comes to decide which technology to choose and to write pieces of code, the initial design of the overall architecture and ecosystem will be accessible to all.

Workshop activities

The objective of the workshop is to review the initial principles and design ideas to produce a blueprint of the Open Passport architecture and ecosystem. The activities the participants will be invited to contribute to:

  • Projection: imagine that everybody had an Open Passport with thousands of different Open Badges (and other data), what kind of services could be provided?
  • Review: are the initial principles and design ideas valid? Are there alternatives? Are there similar developments in other sectors we could learn from / join?
  • Design: what are the minimum functionalities required in the passport? How do passports interact with others and the rest of the world?
  • Planning: which resources do we need? Which actors should we involve?

The workshop will start on Monday and run during the three days of the conference. The workshop will close on Wednesday with a first draft of the recommendations and specifications for the design of the Open Badge Passport.

Social Dinner at Little Italy

The participants at ePIC will have the pleasure to enjoy the great atmosphere, music and food of the one of the best know jazz club in Barcelona. The emergence of Little Italy in 1988 revolutionised the Barcelona restaurant scene and in the two decades since has become a landmark in El Born, one of the most fashionable places in the city.

Badge Europe!


First release of the Open Badge Passport

A first version of the Open Badge Passport has been released and is accessible at https://openbadgepassport.com. Although an early version (see below for future development plans) this release radically transforms the Open Badge workflow and user experience: the owners of a Passport can now receive the badges earned directly in their passports where they can be displayed and shared. Fully compatible with the Mozilla Backpack, Open Badges can be moved easily from one service to another (Linkedin, Facebook, etc.).

One of the crucial problems the Open Badge Passport has now resolved is the unwieldy process of Open Badge issuing and acceptance which sometimes led to a huge attrition between the badges issued and the badges 'pushed' into the Backpack, then 'pushed' onto personal pages and social networks.

The process before the Open Badge Passport:

  1. Earner: create a Persona (a Mozilla identifier associated to an email address)
  2. Earner: create a Backpack
  3. Issuer: send an email to the badge earner (as people have several emails, often it went to the wrong email, one not associated to the Backpack)
  4. Earner: push the badge to the Backpack
  5. Earner: push the badge to a site which has an "Open Badge Displayer" (i.e. a plugin)

The process with the Open Badge Passport:

  1. Earner: create a Passport using an existing identifier (OpenID)
  2. Issuer: send a Badge to the Passport
  3. Earner: display the Badge in one or more pages, along with a narrative, other badges, evidence etc.
For the moment, the direct issuing into the Passport is limited to the Badges created with the Open Badge Factory but, through an API, all other issuing platforms will be able to do the same.

Open Passport and Open Badge Passport

As you can see on this page, there are two logos and two names. What is the difference?

Although the initiative of ADPIOS, the Open Passport should be led by the community of practitioners coming from various horizons: ePortfolio, Open Badges, TinCAN (xAPI), trust and identity, VRM (vendor relationship management) and more.

Future Developments

In the previous newsflash we set the following challenge:

Imagine that everybody had an Open Badge Passport containing thousands of Open Badges collected over a period of time, imagine that every Passport owner could open their data to services they trust, what kind of services do you imagine would be possible and what could their impact be?

The definition of those services and the architecture that will make it as easy to add a new service as it is adding an app to a mobile phone will be our main task over the next months. The work will start at ePIC where a number of workshops have been planned to initiate the co-design of tomorrow's Open Passports!

If you are interested to contribute with your own ideas to the design of the Open Badge Passport, join us at ePIC and at http://www.openpassport.me/


Use cases and Discussion Paper


Badge Europe is still inviting contributions to two of its activities:

  • definition of use cases (http://www.openbadges.eu/use_cases) — more use cases will also be created during ePIC workshops
  • discussion paper on Open Badges and Quality Management (link)

Open Badges use cases

Use cases are short narratives describing different situations and processes related to the exploitation of Open badges. The objective of these narratives is to inform the design of the Open Badge Infrastructure. Current use cases include:

  • Migrant Skilled Worker
  • Member of a Working Group
  • Collaborative design of badges
  • Open Badges in schools and higher education
  • Building a portfolio from badges
  • Using badges as a way to express social or political statements
  • Badge application for recognition of prior learning
  • Badges created and managed in one place then issued in several systems

Open Badges and Quality Management

Open Badges for Quality or Quality for Open Badges? It is something entirely different to explore how Open Badges could transform our current approaches to quality management, using badges as transformative agents, than looking at how to apply current quality management techniques to Open Badges. The discussion is open and you are welcome to join and contribute to the conversation.


Europortfolio News






Sign the


Join the conversation on the ePortfolio Green Paper

If ePortfolios were such a wonderful thing, we should all have one, shouldn’t we? Why isn’t it the case? What does it say about the state of the art of learning and technologies? Is it because the technology is not mature enough? Is it because the learning environment, especially the formal one, is not conducive to ePortfolio practice? Are Open Badges a nice add-on to ePortfolios or a means to reinvent ePortfolio technology and practice?

To explore these questions, and more, the Europortfolio team invites the community to contribute to the collective authoring of a Green Paper (link) that will be discussed during ePIC 2015.

The Green Paper will be written collaboratively over 4 months (March 2015- June 2015). It will use 3 documents:

We are using Google Doc, a practical means for collecting comments and editing suggestions. The whole process is entirely public.

Table of contents of the Green Paper

Introductory question:

  • Why doesn't everyone have an ePortfolio?

ePortfolio and stakeholders:

  • Who really benefits from the introduction of ePortfolios in an organisation? Who has the real ownership?

  • Are ePortfolios the authentic voice of the learner?

  • Why have we not seen the emergence of community ePortfolios?

ePortfolio and learning:

  • Do we need ePortfolios to learn?

  • Do we need ePortfolios to reflect?

  • Are ePortfolios conducive to better learning?

  • Do ePortfolios motivate learners?

  • Can ePortfolios be graded?

ePortfolio and technologies:

  • Have ePortfolios reduced the asymmetry of the learning environment?

  • Are there technologies specific to ePortfolios?

  • Who are the main beneficiaries of ePortfolio technologies?

  • Could ePortfolio technology be designed and managed with and by the learners?

  • What is an Open ePortfolio?

Learning, ePortfolios and innovation:

  • What is the actual impact of ePortfolio on learning and teaching practice?

  • Are ePortfolios a disruptive innovation?

  • What innovations in ePortfolio technologies over the last 10 years?

  • Do ePortfolios encourage innovation and creativity?

  • Under which conditions could the introduction of ePortfolios lead to learning innovation?

ePortfolios & Open Badges:

  • Are Open Badges a nice add-on to ePortfolios or a means to reinvent ePortfolio technology and practice?




EDEN Annual Conference, 10-12 June 2015, Barcelona, Spain

Complex Changes, Accelerated Transformations

The landscape of learning in the past few years has been changing substantially.

The ever-improving performance of mobile devices and the development of networking infrastructure continue to increase the appeal of new powerful instruments. The rapid spread of technologies, reflected in their untameable demand and use, the momentous development of research as well as practices inevitably transform the information society - mostly outside of institutional settings and often along unexpected pathways.

Whilst there is growing public interest and high demand worldwide for knowledge and education, and intensive social media movements are experienced both on the provider and user communities’ side, the issue of skills deficit is contributing to the critical public approach.

What the Society Would Expect

The increased amount and improved quality of new digital content in learning are furthering rapid transformation of user habits and the social impact of new technologies. The re-interpretation of the terms 'openness', 'resource management' and 'IPRs' have also altered socio-economic and cultural aspects considerably.

The movement for openness of learning content and courseware is pushing a paradigm change and a need for new approaches in using ICT. New educational business models and stakeholder alliances emerge, supported by fresh social and economic demands and clusters of interest. The emergence of low cost models in education warns all sectors, particularly universities.

All of this places new challenges on the educational system. The education and training sector needs to improve its effi ciency by scaling up innovative solutions to better meet the current requirements of society.


Find out more on the Conference Themes and on the Submission Guidance.

AAEEBL 6th Annual Conference, 27-30 July 2015, Boston, USA

Hynes Convention Center, Boston, MA, USA

Moving Beyond “One-Size-Fits-All” by Targeting Three Strategic and Transformative Approaches: Evidence-Based Learning; Personalized Learning and Holistic Outcomes Assessment.

The focus of AAEEBL 2015 will target learning cultures through eportfolios use to assure a good fit with evidence gained from personalized learning and assessed holistically. The goal of AAEEBL 2015 is to address three key targets for transformation that, if put into practice with eportfolios, can ease this tipping point in order to assure quality and recognize a variety of learning needs:

  • Evidence-Based Learning
  • Personalized Learning
  • Holistic Assessment

link: http://www.aaeebl.org/?page=bostonaaeebl2015cfp


2015 Eportfolio Forum, 30-September – 1 October 2015, Joondalup, Australia

2015 Eportfolio Forum and Workshops will be a two day program of presentations, workshops and facilitated conversations on  30 September and 1 October at the Edith Cowan University in Perth, Western Australia.

The 2015 Eportfolio Forum will be held on Wednesday 30 September 2015, followed by half-day Eportfolio Workshops on Thursday 1 October 2015 to enable new and experienced eportfolio supporters to gain some ‘hands-on’ experience with using eportfolios.

Call for proposals are now open and close on 1 June 2015.

Link: https://eportfoliosaustralia.wordpress.com/forums/2015-eportfolio-forum-home-page/2015-eportfolio-forum-call-for-proposals/

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